As a result of the herpes virus outbreak at an international tournament in Valencia (ESP), a total of 18 horses from different nations died in spring 2021. Calls for the introduction of compulsory vaccination against equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) were loud. On the occasion of the annual meeting of the German Equestrian Association, the Sports Advisory Board discussed the advantages and disadvantages of compulsory vaccination.
According to FN veterinarian Dr. Enrica Zumnorde-Mertens to reduce virus excretion within a herd. However, this only works if all horses in a herd are vaccinated. When fewer viruses circulate, the risk of disease transmission decreases. However, a vaccination cannot protect the individual horse from infection or disease. In addition, the vaccination is less effective when vaccinated and unvaccinated horses are kept together. And as with any vaccination, there is also a risk of side effects with the EHV-1 vaccination. Nevertheless, the majority of the benefits of vaccination against EHV-1 predominate, according to a broadcast by the FN on Wednesday.
The transition year is intended to prevent delivery bottlenecks
In recent years there have always been problems with delivery bottlenecks around the EHV-1 vaccination. That should be different in the future. According to the FN, there are currently three vaccines on the market whose manufacturers have already signaled that they can meet the expected vaccine demand. The year 2022 is to be used as a transition year in order to ensure sufficient lead time. In this way, on the one hand, enough vaccine can be produced, on the other hand, all competition riders have the chance to have their competition horses vaccinated in good time. After the basic vaccination has taken place, half-yearly booster vaccinations analogous to the influenza vaccination are required.
The compulsory vaccination for competition horses will come into force in Germany on January 1, 2023.